Wednesday, 4 July 2007

The life of an unemployed man

I had been the Vice-President (Academic Representation) at Hull University Union for a year, had got settled and really enjoyed it. The job was one of the best experiences of my life. However, at midday on June 29th 2007, I became an unemployed man.

It was strange because for a while, the feeling of being unemployed didn't really hit me. However, it's now Thursday and I haven't been to work for a few days. I've been able to do a few things that I wouldn't normally have the time for because of the hours dedicated to my job. I don't feel as physically drained at the end of the day now and believe me, that's a good feeling. When I was working, I frequently fell asleep on the bus going home at the end of the day because I felt so tired.

The thing is, despite all the stress and tiredness, I would happily do the job for another year. Being a sabbatical officer at a student union has given me so many opportunities and experiences and I've met many great people. Many people who I know feel that I've done a great job as well (always great to hear that), which would've been something I'd have liked to build upon.

Oh well, another year is something that will not happen - so what's next for me?

People have asked if I'm going for a postgraduate degree. Well, I'm not. If I was more certain about which sector I'm going into, I might have considered postgraduate study because my education would then be more tailored to a particular role. However, I'm thinking about careers in computing or admin/management roles in higher of further education. Those two areas are both big and different. Something as specific as postgraduate study wouldn't suit that in my opinion.

I know a guy called John Franks who has had many years of experience in careers advice. He suggested looking for a job where I am able to figure out why computing graduates are not going into computing jobs and then figuring out a solution for this. It's an interesting idea and something that will allow me to be in both the computing and education sectors at the same time.

Another suggestion was to work for the University of Hull's Computer Services. Again, this may be something that allows me to be in both sectors. It's definitely something I won't be ruling out, but there are many different aspects to Computer Services, so I would be looking at job descriptions carefully.

I'm not just looking at jobs in the University of Hull though. Doing that will give me a smaller range of options and that will ultimately reduce my chances of getting a job. I have looked at other universities and places that aren't universities. The one major limitation is that that I can't drive - so if it is a job outside Hull it will have to be somewhere easily commutable by train. Either that or I get a great starting wage at some place which allows me to relocate (unlikely at this stage in my career though). Once I am able to drive, this will greatly increase my chances of getting jobs in the future.

So, how am I looking for jobs? In the past, people used to look in places like the Job Centre and the newspaper. The newspaper is something that I will be using, but I will also be looking towards recruitment agencies like Hays and using job websites like Monster, and the pages on DirectGov.

I have applied for some jobs already. Two were in administration, one was in quality and standards and one in international student recruitment. All four were university jobs and all four were unsuccessful. The money was good and my CV was a good fit in most cases. I think the big thing that lets me down is experience. Now I'm unemployed I think I'll do more frequent job applications for different levels of pay. The only thing about pay is that I want something more than what I got in my last job (it was unsurprisingly low as it was an honorarium).

One of the things that I became interested in when I was a sabbatical officer is governance. One day I would like to become a governor in a college or school and/or a charity trustee. However, I want to secure a full-time job first so I know how many hours I could give to something like that.

If any readers of this blog have been unemployed at any point, I'd be interested in knowing your experiences and how you went looking for jobs.

Technorati tags: Employment


Anonymous said...

Craigslist is the best resource to get some leads quick. In my opinion.

As an unemployed computer nerd I can answer your question for engineers.

1. Globalization
2. Entry level jobs are gone. Corporations continue to undermine the opportunities.

Go ahead and search for C++ or Java jobs. Take a look through entry level and then notice how many require several years experience or specialized knowledge. I assume they want to pay entry-level wages for a senior programmer. Science careers will be a waste for the next 30 years because of globalization. It can be off shored where wages are cheaper based on currency ratios.

The American computer industry is dead. All venture capital will bypass America until our wages align with the bottom of the barrel. And if things continue as they are, which they won't, that would take about 20 to 30 years before we see balance.

If you have found a job, good for you. If not, do what every other young college grad is being forced to do. And that is starting your own business or drown in a sea of poverty working multiple part time McJobs just to break even.